Pandora raises subscription rates, blames rising music roylaties

Pandora

Detailed within a post on the official Pandora blog, the streaming music company plans to increase the monthly subscription rate for Pandora One by 25 percent for all new subscribers starting during May 2014. Specifically, the monthly subscription plan for Pandora One will rise from $3.99-a-month (approximately $48 a year) to $4.99-a-month (approximately $60 a year). In addition, Pandora will be ending the annual subscription option that provided access as a discounted rate of $36 for the year. 

Providing reasoning behind the price increase, a Pandora spokesperson wrote “The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably. For example, the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53% in the last five years and will increase another 9% in 2015.” Out of Pandora’s 250 million registered users, this change will affect 3.3 million paying subscribers that generate approximately $150 million in revenue per year.

However, current Pandora One subscribers are going to be provided with a couple options to ease the transition. Anyone on the annual $36 plan will be grandfathered into the $3.99 monthly rate, assuming they want to continue subscribing to the service. In addition, any existing subscribers will get to continue paying the $3.99 monthly rate. Only new subscribers will have to pay the $4.99 monthly rate and that’s assuming they wait until May to subscribe. Up until May 1, Pandora users that subscribe to the One service can lock in the $3.99 monthly rate for the life of their subscription.

Interestingly, this makes iTunes Radio an even more value-driven option since the advertisement free version is priced at $25 per year. In addition, that subscription comes with enrollment in iTunes Match, a service that matches up your music with 256-Kbps AAC quality versions and allows you to access that music through the cloud on your iPad or iPhone. Of course, iTunes Radio is only available on Apple devices, thus Android and Windows Phone users are simply out of luck.

Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.
Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Home Theater

Pandora Stories let artists take fans on a guided audio tour

Blending podcasts with playlists, Pandora's new format, Pandora Stories, lets artists mix their music with narrated voice tracks, creating a personalized tour of their music, or any other topic they want to discuss.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Home Theater

SoundCloud hopes to add listeners with 50 percent discount for students

SoundCloud launched a student discount for it's top-tier SoundCloud Go+ membership, dropping the price to just $5 a month. It's a good deal for students, but will it be enough to keep the music platform from going under?
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Music

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Music

The best new music this week: Karen O with Danger Mouse, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week, we have new music from Karen O with Danger Mouse, Snarky Puppy, Stephen Malkmus, and Zacari.